Microsoft, Murdoch talk team-up to freeze Google out of online news

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Can Microsoft (MSFT) gain much needed market share for its Bing search engine by signing a deal with News Corp. (NWS) and other news publishers to remove their web pages from the Google (GOOG) search index and give Bing an exclusive on links to The Wall Street Journal? That's the kernel of an argument which has been gaining traction online in the past month.

Certainly, such an arrangement is legal and possible. Google allows sites to opt-out of the index and even explains how to do this on its website. Whether the maneuver would actually work is a far trickier question. Sentiments remain mixed, with some observers saying freezing out Google would have zero effect on the search giant, but might harm the newspapers by reducing their traffic. After all, WSJ.com has remained behind a paid subscription wall since its inception.